Monday, June 30, 2003

Yesterday we had our first Sunday Gathering. I was up until 2 am the night before. I think I was a bit wired, but also pulling together things I forgot until then.

Everything went great. We have some amazing volunteers who served big time!
I want to list some here:
> Carter was a monster help on production!
> Andy and his boys were epic on the food and beverage side of things!
> Mike was the greeter king and leader who put an awesome group in motion! Servant Man!
> Chris was the do what it takes fella.
> Jane was the welcome queen and shared from her heart like a pro - preach it sista!
> Ben was the powerpoint guru.
> Bob was on the guitar but also a set up and tear down wizzard!
> Ken & Brenda were servants to the core following the gathering!
> Doug & Margo and their family had servants hearts and showed up to serve!
> We had remarkable volunteers in the kids area!
Carol, Vicki, Jen, Mike, Brenda, Ashley, Paige, Becca, Ellen, Erin, Laura,
Ashley, Becca, Sammi, and others...
> Nate M. was getting giggy with the tear down and all around service.
> Fred and Ally came to serve the kids and showed Christ!
> Wade was killer on the percussion and led the way by sharing and serving.
> Many of our core members stepped in to help set up chairs, clean up, greet and
serve.
> Mike did a killer job with the band - they were awesome!
The Band was: Casey, Jordan, Granger, Bob and the Wade man.
> Nate made the kid program hum and the kids had a blast!
> Ryan was the servant - do what it takes fella.
> The YMCA was awesome - Patrick checked in on us and helped get the sign up.
> Bruce and Anita from the sign factory helped us out with an awesome sign.
> Jan was the photo queen - being creative with the memories.
> If I missed someone - sorry - not that anyone reads this anyways.

We need to do some serious follow up and thank you notes. One thing that I would love to see a part of our Watermark culture is the heart of service in community and the response of encouragement. It seems easy to begin to see people as a player in fulfilling the vision of seeing people grow and find Christ. Rather than seeing those very people as the mission and vision. Through service people can encounter encouragement, truth and community to grow with Jesus.

So anyways we had an amazing morning! But we did not "do" church - we "are" the church. Now that we are doing some gatherings we will need to cast the vision of "being" the church even more.

We were blown away by how many people were there yesterday - it was humbling. There were 153 total people including kids. Wow! Lots of new faces!

I did not feel good about my message. I could not seem to speak clearly - and felt like I was walking through mud to communicate. I do feel like I have been under spiritual oppression. Anyways - I never usually get nervous, but as soon as I stood up to speak I all of a sudden realized the significance of the moment and began to get nervous. Funny. I was so busy getting everything together that I forgot to be excited and to realize what was happening until I spoke.

I finally ditched my notes and felt more comfortable. The challenge was to live your faith so that others could come to know Jesus. To be committed to grow with God so that you can go and help others do the same.

Well - I gotta jet. Praise God.

sd

Thursday, June 26, 2003

There have been some real successful things we have done so far in launching the church.
1. We have been working hard at redefining the term "church" from a place to a people.

2. Vision chats have been informative times to worship, connect and chat about what Watermark is all about.

3. We have a prayer group starting led by an awesome volunteer! This is so HUGE!

4. My favorite thing so far is our small group leader training. Even though we don't have a ton of leaders at this - it has been an informative and connecting time. To me it feels like we started a small group to train small group leaders! Very cool!

But getting off the "church talk" I guess I'll just say how awesome my wife is. Her name is Vicki (not that anyone who reads this doesn't know us...). Vicki is such an outstanding partner in life and ministry. We had some people over yesterday and she did an incredible job with hospitality and making them feel comfortable. I see so many gifts she has. She is a great leader, she is creative, she has a huge heart and she is a babe. :) Anyways - I love her and this Watermark thing is re-inforcing how much.

Well - she never reads my blog so don't think I gain any points! :)

Time to finish my message for sunday... Should be good. I am continually being reminded that sunday is not about entertaining or impressing people, but gathering to give our all to God together! It has got to be about him, otherwise we are falling short.

Brad, at the vin-mark link - is putting together a cool flash thing for us - should be a great vision tool.

Enough random thoughts: see ya.
sd

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

One thing I value is being in the community. I can't say this has always been a value for me - in fact it has been growing within me over the past 2 years. Now, as a church planter, it is a necessity (from the way I see it) to be in the community.

So today I spent some time in the community in a shop with a reading area and began to work on my Sunday morning message. Following my reading and note taking I cruised around town.

As I finished my tour I got into my car and realized I have never been trained to "be in the community" in any purposeful manner.

Therefore, I want to think up some key thoughts for all of us who sense a call to a city and pursue being in the community. Here are some first thoughts (which are probably going to be so basic you'll give up reading):
> Pray before you go. Ask God to give you His heart & senses for the community.
> Pray as you go. Pray for people you see, for businesses and for needs as God reveals them.
> Get acquainted. Check out stores and areas you never frequent to become familiar with the
area and the diversity.
> Open your mouth. Don't be afraid to chat to someone you don't know.
Here are some good questions that I've found so far: (from my new to the area perspective)
1. Do you live around here? For how long? What do you enjoy about living here? What
do you wish would change?
2. What's a good place to eat (or another opinion asking question.)
3. Just show interest in them! I like to find out where someone is coming from and who
they are before asking them questions like - do you go to church or know Jesus...
> Have a pen and paper handy. After meeting someone (like an employee) - write down when
and who you met and enough to remember for next time so that you can connect with them
again. Also you can write down your info. if someone wants to get in touch.
> Have a Bible handy. I have a small one I keep in my back pack - as God opens opportunities I
can be ready with His Word.
> Debrief your time - learn from it - pray about it - talk about it.

The key I think is to love the community - not to use it - not to fear it - but to love it. To love it you have to know it. To know it you have to be in it.

Enough of this - time to eat Tater Tots!

sd

Monday, June 23, 2003

This Sunday we are having our first gathering. I am very excited about this gathering because we will see some people we haven't seen yet, but are interested in Watermark. This area is very Sunday morning focussed and there are people (I hope!) interested in Watermark, but waiting until Sundays launch. This summer is an awesome time of weening people off the "church is an event or building" mentality. We are emphasizing that "we are the church." Our motto is "i am watermark."

We have a ton of stuff to do - little junk, but time consuming. We are spreading out the stuff to others and the trick will be kids. Everyone wants to be at our first gathering (even though it won't be our regular gathering set up) so we are attempting to have some outside help Sunday so people can participate. We are praying like crazy for a volunteer kids director, but we have a great leader overseeing kids until we can get the right hands on person.

Anyways - I have an incredible team of people leading this body. Let me quickly give you a run down of our "staff" team:
> Nate Smith is the Ministries guy. His main responsibility is setting the vision and
implementation of children, youth and community influence.
> Mike Morgan is the Worship dude. He designs and implements the musical worship experience.
> Steve Thompson is the Groups man. He makes the small groups go round.
> Me - Steve Deur is the Lead fella.

We have some OUTSTANDING core members! I will let you know more about them in the future! I am most excited about seeing our core members leading and developing ministries.

Anyways - have an epic day!

Steve

Saturday, June 21, 2003

I have been putting together a standard week and coming up with categories... One of the categories is: vision. This is one of those things that I often forget to take time for. I have found that if I have time every day to "hear vision" from God, "read vision" in His Word, "speak vision" with his people and just "chill vision" to contemplate and dream, then I am much more effective as a leader and vision caster.

In the message I heard on Thursday, John Ortberg talked about "self bias" and how we all think we are above average. I must have self bias, because I have always considered myself to be an "above average" vision caster... I would like to become someone who can inspire people with God's dreams - therefore I MUST take time to know those dreams and plan on how I will share those dreams.

This past year I spent some great time trying new ways to share vision.
I tried:
> Personal vision casting verbally
> Corporate vision casting verbally
> Image vision casting
> Media vision casting
> Vision casting exercises with people
> Writing vision casting
> 3rd party vision casting (having others join you)

Anyways - I am very excited about being involved in laying God's course out for Watermark, but I MUST take time to nurture and share it.

So that is what is on my mind, because I am trying to figure out how much disciplined time I need weekly for vision and communication of vision.

On a personal note - my grass is beginning to look more yellow. Do I cut it (it is getting longer) or wait until I water it?

Gotta go - I am going to my cousin's wedding today!

SD

PS: if you want to see the site of the guy working on our branding and web stuff for Watermark - go to: www.ailema.com

Friday, June 20, 2003

I heard John Ortberg from Willow Creek (www.willowcreek.org) speak today and took some fellas from Watermark with me. They were pimping (casting the vision) the Leadership Summit to us and he gave an awesome talk on leadership.

One thing he said that I found impacting is that the best moment of our lives is...NOW.
This moment is all we really have.
The past moments are in the past never to return.
The future moments may never arrive.
This moment is a sacred moment in which I am living with God and must squeeze every bit of life out of the moment!

NO DUH! (or as my aussie friends say: "deurrrr") Basic common sense...
But - incredibly profound the more you grapple with it.

For me - it means approaching my moments differently.
I must begin to see my time doing things I dislike as moments of worship with God.
I must begin to see every moment as an opportunity for God to break through.

I again realized that I am dancing on the stage of history and at this moment the curtain is up and the spot light is on and God is dancing with me. Now is the time to dance. Now is the time to live. This is a sacred moment.

I better go to bed before I think too much,
sd

By the way go to www.winningathome.com if you want to hear some talks and stuff I do with a dude named Dan.
(not that you care)

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

I am a part of a church planters round table. I find the time challenging because you are constantly being focussed on what matters... So what does matter... hmmm 1) Connecting with God 2) Connecting with Family 3) Ministry to others

I don't want this space to be filled up with the traditional ho hum about how my greatest sin is not trusting Jesus - although that is lurking around the corner daily. Also, I don't want to run myself into the ground about my role as a husband and father - although I could use my booty kicked from time to time... I guess I say that because I don't feel like I've done a bang up job around the house. So again I was challenged to be a minister to my family today.

I'm not sure if you understood the above paragraph, but oh well.

A quick thought about the current state of church evangelism:
As I speak with people and ask them if they are telling people about Jesus and how - I often will hear them say they have shared their faith. When I ask them how - they often say, "I invited them to church."

Warning: the next comment is obvious and loaded with past church baggage!
* It seems to me that we have, as followers of Jesus, given the reponsibility of introducing people to Jesus to the organized church. This has come about at the prodding of the local church. For example: we often push people to invite their friends to special events, but rarely push them to share their journey with Jesus. It is just easier! The ministers can put together a neat package and teaching to say what needs to be said... The church will see more people come through the doors -which feels good as a pastor... I guess what I am saying is - I really want Watermark to become a church that is not a seeker church, but has seeker people. That we equip and supplement the believers to share their lives and therefore their faith. That the first concern is not getting more people into the services, but into our lives. To share an invitation to Jesus and not to a program to tell about Jesus.

Granted - whatever it takes for people to connect with Jesus is the KEY! This is just something I have observed and would like to be the culture of Watermark.

For what it's worth.

Thanks for reading this.
sd

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Had a great weekend with extended family. Now I'm looking forward to getting into a groove. With so many changes I desire even the slightest routine. I typically am an unstructured fellow, but I need a little structure at the moment. We are trying to put together a standard week so we can better plan and prepare for family and work time.

I just realized how boring this is and how tired I am... so I'll leave this alone and come back when I'm more clever and interesting.

Hey - we got our hot tub going and I found my place for preparing messages!

sd

Sunday, June 15, 2003

Today I spoke at Central Wesleyan Church in Holland (http://www.centralwesleyan.org). I did a class about the new church. The people who came were interested for themselves or others and were very attentive. It was a great morning and I enjoyed sharing the vision again.

I think the thing I love about my job is being able to speak about stuff that I am passionate about and seeing people switch on to God's vision.

The thing I dislike about doing vision chats is my inner desire to have everyone love the new church. I have to remind myself in those vision meetings that I am not selling anything - I am inviting people to be on the journey with us... Trusting God to raise up His people for the church is an exercise in trust.

Anyways - I want to share a verse that has been important to us as a church. NLT - 1 Thessalonians 2:8: "We loved you so much that we gave you not only God's Good News but our own lives, too." This is a verse we want to live out!

Well - Happy Fathers Day. I got a CD and a book - pretty cool.

God Bless,
Steve

Saturday, June 14, 2003

Here are the current transitions we have been in for the past few monthes:
1) We had a son on March 4th - Harrison David Deur
2) We changed our place of ministry from Spring Lake Wesleyan (www.slwc.org) to our new church Watermark
3) We moved our home from a condo in Ferrysburg, MI to a house in Grand Haven, MI

I have left the world of youth pastoring and entered the world of lead pastoring.
I have left the church office, equipment, people and building to enter the home office, neighborhood and town center.

This is where I currently am coming from. I have to tell you something - I love it! There is something pure and lovely about being in the community. I desire to be a person and have a church known for being a valuable community member.

In the past 2 weeks I have spoken to more people about Jesus and the power of His church than in the past six months. I believe it is for a few reasons:
1) Proximity - it is amazing what happens when you move out of your office and into the community! You have to be near people to connect with people.

2) Passion - when you get into the community and meet people you develop a passion for them and therefore look to connect with more people. Also I have been actively praying that God would give me compassion for people. God is answering that prayer.

3) (P) Hunger for God (sorry - I realized I had two p's and wanted to keep my pastoral structure going!) I am depending on God more and more and I sense my heart aligning with His more as a result - which makes me more sensitive to what He is doing around me.

I am sure there is more, but I have to go to the Hoffmaster State Park to go for a trail walk with my extended family.

We met a lot of our neighbors recently - Jo Anne, Sean, Michelle, Kevin and Ron. Please pray that we would develop solid relationships with them and that we would serve them and show the love of Jesus... Thanks!

Being the church,
Steve

Friday, June 13, 2003

I titled this BLOG - "Deurty" since "Deur" was taken. The content will not be dirty, but I assume my thoughts will seem a bit messy at times as I wrestle with ideas and have competing values to work through. So that is a justification for the name I guess - I also thought it was clever. Most uses of my last name deal with potential kid names.

For example:
Eleva - Deur
Float - Deur
Escala - Deur

You can have fun with that later I suppose. I'd love to hear from you on some other ones - in case we have another kid.

Well - I subtitled this thing: Inside the mind of a guy starting a church. That is true - we are starting a church and I'm sure there will be plenty to chat about on that and other relating subjects. So feel free to stop in and hang a bit.

The name of our new church is: Watermark.

Adios,
steve
This is the start of something. I have good intentions, but we'll see on the follow through. I am typing more for myself because I think it could bring some clarity to the whirlwind of my life at the moment. Lots of good stuff and action!

Anyways (you'll see me say that alot) Here we go...